Re: [bolger] steaming woods
To obtain very tight bends just by steaming is a bit difficult. Tables
show that Douglas fir(Psudossuga menziesii) of one inch thickness can be
bent to a radius of 33 inches after steaming.
Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus) will not do better than 37, white cedar will go
to 18 inches, Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) will stop at 39.
Of course you can achieve much smaller radii with thinner wood which you
can later glue together, forming a lamination.
Fairly good wood for bending is Ash, Beech, Birch, Chestnut, Elm (the tables
say you can achive 9,5 inches of radius under the above conditions), Lime,
Oak, Sycamore and some others.
Steam bending should be done after "cooking" the wood for one hour per
inch thickness, in a closed horizontal box (wood is OK) with steam
saturated with moisture. To make shure it is, place some dishes or cans
with water inside the box.
I boil the water in a 5-gallon can, with a piece of pipe sticking out of the
filler hole, directly into the pox, placed about a meter off the ground, on
sawhorses. You can fire with gas , coal, wood, electricity, whatever.
The perfect way to distribute steam inside the box is making a manifold of a
lenght of metal pipe with holes for the steam to emerge.
Keep the box slightly inclined and make a drain hole for condensation at one
In case you want better than all this, there is always chemistry :
Problem is it stinks, is unhealthy if no proper measures of protection are
taken and you may run into problems with neighbors. You can plasticize
wood and turn it into the consistence of leather, by immersion in gaseous
anhydrus ammonia. This solvent diffuses into the cell structure and
dissolves the lignine. After the wood is bent, the solvent will evaporate
out of the wood and the components of it will solidify again in its new
This system can only be applied in a closed-cirquit installation, with
steel piping and good valves, the spent gas being released into a large
volume of water.
Frank - Brazil
- You can get really tight radius bends in wood that is backed with a
strap. Most wood will give well under compression, and break under
tension, so the strap, steel or whatever, will hold the weak tension
side together. This might sound complex, but a jig consisting of
nothing much more than two wooden hadles the length apart of the
pieces you will bend, with a strap between them will instantly grab,
and bend very tight radius'. Sometimes when bendign over an iron,
nothing more than masking tape on the tension side will do wonders,
but you can't put that in steam box.
- Spotted Gum,Blackbutt and Sydney bluegum [not Calif. growth] all steam well at 1 inch plank thickness/hr steaming if GREEN. You could try soaking dried hardwoods for days first. Who knows? Get steamed up! Andy
"pauldayau <wattleweedooseeds@...>" <wattleweedooseeds@...> wrote:This weekend i vebeen playing with a steamer and bending some wood .
most of my wood is old, salvaged stuff.
i had no luck with douglas fir, of any thickness, baltic Pine all
snapped. a bit of luck with maranti and ramin.
i thgought I was doing something wrong until i found some scraps of
MIchigan white Cedar given to me 10 years ago . A piece 3mm thick ,
12" long bent into a hoop staight away, a piece 3/4" thick bent like
rubber as well.
our local Jarrah was steamed for 2 hours without looking like
next step is to cut some green trees and try bending them.
This weekend i bought a small sawmill in bits .
This boat /wood thing is starting to get a bit serious.
has anyone had any experience with any of these woods?
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